Chennai: Even as posters outside the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) office sought Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) as the party general secretary, leaders at a crucial meeting on Wednesday chose to continue with the existing dual leadership model to handle the party’s day-to-day functioning.
Instead, the district secretaries’ meeting focused solely on the upcoming local body polls. The top brass made it clear that party members should not discuss the ‘single-leadership’ issue.
Emerging out of the meeting, senior AIADMK leader R Vaithilingam and state ministers D Jayakumar and KT Rajendra Balaji said the present arrangement which gave full powers in the party to EPS and his deputy O Panneerselvam (OPS) would continue.
Refusing to comment on what panned at the ‘internal meeting’, Jayakumar said there was no issue or problem in respect to the question of who should lead the party.
He said “status quo” would be maintained — the chief minister and his deputy would continue to helm the AIADMK.
“The dual mode of leadership will continue to be on... there is no change in it,” said Vaithilingam, a senior leader and deputy coordinator of the party.
A source privy to the meeting said the party will focus on forming the 11-member committee to handle the AIADMK's activities.
The party also sent out a message that its alliance with the BJP was intact and that the Lok Sabha results had not strained ties between the two.
On June 8, senior AIADMK leader and MLA Rajan Chelleppa was the first to speak out against a dual leadership formula after which others leaders started talking about it.
As the issue became an embarrassment for the party, the AIADMK issued a gag order asking leaders not to comment on matter.
Balaji said with the support of all, it was decided the present party structure of coordinator and co-coordinator would continue.
Asked if this meant the demand of Chellappa (and another MLA) had been rejected, he said the decision was taken with his support too.
To a question on general council meeting, he said such decisions will be announced by the chief minister and his deputy.
The party, in a statement, meanwhile warned of disciplinary action against functionaries who expressed their views on intra-party affairs in public.
The AIADMK said only the party's official spokespersons could talk on the organisation's stand on any issue after ascertaining the position from the leadership.
Three MLAs who had sided with TTV Dhinakaran —A Prabhu E Rathinasabhapathy and VT Kalaiselvan — were not invited for the meet.
The trio was issued notices seeking explanation by Speaker P Dhanapal over alleged anti-party activities under the anti-defection law and subsequently the notices were stayed by the Supreme Court.
(With inputs from PTI)